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Analyzing literature 2012 with audio


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Analyzing literature 2012 with audio

  1. 1. Analyzing Literature
  2. 2. Structure, Content & Style
  3. 3. Approaching Texts All texts share three common elements:  Structure  Content  Style
  4. 4. Structure Structure is how a text is built Think of the structure of a text like the frame of a house Structure can include sections, chapters, order of ideas, line breaks (poetry), acts and scenes (drama) A text’s outline reveals its structure
  5. 5. Content Content is the ideas and information in the text Think of content as what is in the house (e.g. furniture) Content can include things like plot, character, main ideas, theme, dialogue A summary of the text reveals its content
  6. 6. Style Style is the unique way the author has presented the ideas in the text Think of style as how the contents of the house are decorated Style can include things like word choice, use of language, syntax, sentence structure, imagery Identifying what makes one author/text different from another reveals style
  7. 7. Structure, Content & Style Any text can be analyzed using these concepts – short stories, novels, plays, poems, essays, non- fiction texts, letters Structure, content, and style work together and often overlap
  8. 8. Critical Approaches to Literature
  9. 9. Critical Approaches to Literature The same text can be looked at through more than one “lens” These “lenses” are known as critical approaches Critical approaches to literature are developed by readers who look for different meanings in a text Critical approaches are created in different time periods and generally reflect cultural changes that are happening at that time
  10. 10. Common Critical Approaches Formalist Criticism Biographical Criticism Historical Criticism Psychological Criticism Mythological Criticism Cultural Criticism Reader Response Criticism
  11. 11. Formalist Criticism Literature is a form of knowledge with intrinsic elements – style, structure, imagery, tone, and genre What gives a literary work status as a great work of art is how all of its elements work together to create the readers experience Appreciating a text requires close reading – a careful, step- by-step analysis and explication of the text Style and theme influence each other and cant be separated if meaning is to be retained
  12. 12. Formalist Criticism "Extracting" elements in isolation (theme, character, plot, setting, etc.) may destroy a readers aesthetic experience of the whole Formalist critics dont deny the historical or political situation of a work, they just believe works of art have the power to transcend them Formalist criticism is evaluative in that it differentiates great works of art from poor works of art Formalist criticism is a "scientific" approach to literary analysis, focusing on "facts amenable to "verification" (evidence in the text)
  13. 13. Biographical Criticism Real life experience can help shape (either directly or indirectly) an authors work Understanding an authors life can help us better understand the work The focus is always on the literary work under investigation
  14. 14. Historical Criticism Investigates the social, cultural, and intellectual context that produced it This investigation includes the authors biography and their culture Seeks to understand the impact of a work in its day and how meanings change over time Explores how time and place of creation affect meaning in the work
  15. 15. Psychological Criticism Great literature truthfully reflects life and is a realistic representation of human motivation and behavior May choose to focus on the creative process of the artist, the artists motivation or behavior, or analyze fictional characters motivations and behaviors
  16. 16. Mythological Criticism Mythological criticism studies recurrent universal patterns underlying most literary works Combines a variety of academic disciplines – anthropology, psychology, history, comparative religion Demonstrates how the individual imagination shares a common humanity by identifying common symbols, images, plots, etc. Identifies "archetypes“ – symbols, characters, situations, or images evoking a universal response
  17. 17. Common Archetypes: Characters The hero - The courageous figure who runs in and saves the day The outcast - he or she has been cast out of society or has left it on a voluntary basis; the outcast figure can oftentimes also be considered as a Christ figure The scapegoat - gets blamed for everything, regardless of whether he or she is actually at fault The star-crossed lovers - the young couple joined by love but unexpectedly parted by fate The shrew - nagging, bothersome wife always battering her husband with verbal abuse
  18. 18. Common Archetypes: Situations/Symbols The task - a character, or group of characters, is driven to complete some duty of monstrous proportion The quest - the characters are searching for something, whether consciously or unconsciously; their actions, thoughts, and feelings center around the goal of completing this quest The loss of innocence - a loss of innocence through sexual experience, violence, or any other means The initiation - process by which a character is brought into another sphere of influence, frequently (in literature) into adulthood Water - a symbol of life, cleansing, and rebirth; it is a strong life force and is often depicted as a living, reasoning force
  19. 19. Cultural Criticism Examines literature in its cultural, economic, and political context Explores the relationship between the artist and the society Focuses on the social content of literary works
  20. 20. Reader-Response Criticism Attempts to describe the internal workings of the readers mental processes Recognizes reading as a creative act or process No text is self-contained, independent of a readers interpretive design The plurality of readings possible is all explored – critics study how different readers see the same text differently, and how religious, cultural, and social values affect readings Instead of focusing only on the values embedded in the text, this type of criticism studies the values embedded in the reader
  21. 21. The Literary Canon
  22. 22. The Literary Canon What is a cannon? What is a canon? “An authoritative list, as of the works of an author" and "a basis for judgment; standard; criterion." Belonging to the canon confers social, political, economic, and aesthetic status Belonging to the canon is a guarantee of quality
  23. 23. The Literary Canon What is the role of the canon in literature? What is the impact of the canon on literature? What are the drawbacks of the literary canon?
  24. 24. Questions?
  25. 25. Works CitedEsch, Stacy. Critical Approaches to Literature. 2002. 4 Aug. 2008 < approaches.html>.PageWise. Understanding Literary Archetypes. 2002. 4 Aug. 2008 <>.University Scholars Programme Project. “The Concept of Literary Canon: An Overview.” The Victorian Web. 1989. 4 Aug. 2008 < nov.html>.